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Water shortages already being predicted for Spring

Date Posted: 2005-02-11

Okinawa’s battering by typhoons in 2004 lulled residents into believing there’s plenty of water in the reservoirs.

Everyone was pretty sure there would be no repeat of last year’s fears of water rationing. They were right, with typhoons filling the island’s reservoirs behind the six state-owned dams. Roughly 90% of the island’s water comes from those reservoirs.

Rains forecast for November and December never materialized. They should have, keeping the reservoirs topped off. Now, officials say the situation could quickly deteriorate. No substantial rains are forecast for the remainder of winter.

Reservoirs full four months ago dropped to 90.3% in November, down to 82% in December, to 75% in January, and as of February 3rd, a measly 69%. Residents and business drain the levels roughly six percent each month. When the water cisterns drop below 50%, officials get very nervous.

Officials were finalizing water rationing measures across Okinawa last Spring when a series of heavy downpours took the pressure off. The military had already implemented rationing on its bases.

Discussions are already under way in Prefecture and local city offices, with leaders agreeing that a lack of rain in February will start the clock moving toward rationing measures once more. The drought prevention measures are varied, including ending water for car washes, and for lawn care.

Officials encourage residents to begin saving water by keeping faucets closed when not in use, taking shorter showers and using water more sparingly.

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